4 Factors That Directly Impact Your Brand’s Integrity
How do you choose where to shop? Maybe you want the best quality product. Or perhaps you want the best deal out there. You could simply want the option that will arrive the fastest. Customer experience and presentation may also play a part in your decision. All of these factors impact a store’s brand identity, and in today’s ecommerce landscape it is more important than ever before.
What is brand integrity?
We define brand integrity as the elements that impact the way consumers interact with and perceive a business. The way a business presents itself sets a standard for how customers expect to experience their interactions with the brand. This can include products, product quality, customer service, experience, and more.
When it comes to ecommerce, brand integrity is incredibly valuable. Instead of a storefront, you need to have a smooth web experience, and instead of friendly cashiers, you need to have fast and reliable shipping – and that’s just the beginning of it.
Think of some of the largest online marketplaces out there – Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, just to name a few. While each is incredibly successful, you likely have a different perception of each shop. Those views, especially on a larger scale of consumers as a whole, make up brand integrity.
Why is brand integrity important?
Brand integrity greatly influences where people shop. If consumers have a positive view of a business or know they can find exactly what they're looking for, they are more likely to shop there. This doesn’t just impact one or two sales, but can bring in business for years to come.
This doesn’t stop at individual consumers either. The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. With a handful of loyal customers who are interested in your business, they will likely advocate to their friends and family, creating new loyal customers, and so on. If you aren’t making brand integrity a priority, you are missing out on all of the benefits that come with it.
Factors to help you achieve brand integrity
Now that you understand the benefits and importance of brand integrity, you’re probably wondering what you should focus on to start building it. A great place to start is convenience. In this case, ecommerce will be your best bet. Customers can order products from the comfort of their homes and usually expect their packages to arrive within a few days. And if you build an excellent online experience with quality products and fast transit times, you will be on your way to building a top-notch brand experience.
Here are the factors we recommend focusing on:
1. Time in transit
A customer submits a new order. Now the clock starts. How quickly can you get their order from your warehouse to their doorstep? From order processing and fulfillment to time in transit, there are a variety of elements that can slow down or speed up this process.
Consumers today expect fast transit times. It’s safe to say that the Amazon effect is at least partially responsible for this. Since the online marketplace opened in 1994, they have changed the way retail works both online and brick and mortar. People around the world now expect a seamless ecommerce experience and fast delivery times – nearly exactly what Amazon has built its brand around. Transit times will likely be one of your biggest hurdles in competing with this retail giant. It can be expensive, but if it is a priority for your customers, it may be worth it to open up the option by charging more for shipping or taking a loss in hopes of drawing in more customers.
At the very least, provide your customers with an estimate of when their order will arrive before they finalize their purchase. We’ll talk more about transparency in communication later in the post, but it’s worth it to touch on it here. By setting expectations on transit times, you present your brand as trustworthy and on top of things.
2. Quality products and services
A lot goes into building an ecommerce brand. Building a website, marketing, logistics – oh yeah, and products. The products that you sell are the core of your brand. Do your customers expect top quality or are they looking to simply get the best price possible? Perhaps your business lands somewhere in the middle. What matters here is that your products satisfy your buyers and meet their expectations.
Another element that goes into this is the quality of your services. Do customers know what to do when a package goes missing or arrives damaged? Is your business easily accessible and helpful in resolving these situations? How long does it take to resolve them? The answers to these questions can either result in long-term, loyal customers, or consumers swearing off your brand entirely. While every interaction may not result in happy customers, it’s important to set a standard for product quality and customer service to build brand integrity.
There is an element of trust that goes into sharing your credit card information with a business – nobody wants to be scammed. A strong brand identity, especially with the element of transparency, will have shoppers confident that they are putting their money and trust in a business that will follow through on its promises.
There are a few ways to go about building transparency. Simply put, the more information shared with the customer, the better. This includes estimated delivery dates before submitting an order, tracking visibility once an order has been processed, and even an ETA of when the package will reach their doorstep.
If a company puts sustainability and ethics at its forefront, transparency is even more important. To avoid greenwashing, a brand has to show why it lives up to its standards. Are products sourced ethically? Are employees paid a living wage? What sustainable materials are used? How can products and packaging be recycled? What sets this brand apart from those that aren’t as sustainable? Give your customers confidence in your brand by opening the door to increased transparency.
Convenience is the reason many choose ecommerce in the first place. With a few taps, you can complete all of your last-minute holiday shopping without even having to leave the couch. And with so many online stores to choose from, it’s easy to search around for lower prices and better products. Putting convenience at the heart of your brand can be incredibly influential in creating conversions.
From start to finish, convenience can enhance an online shopping experience. If a shopper isn’t exactly sure what they’re looking for, product filters are a great place to start. If they have a certain budget, color, or size they’re looking for, filtering down a search may help them find it.
Once their cart is full, it’s time to enhance the checkout experience. Accepting a variety of credit cards or virtual options, like PayPal, makes the purchasing experience accessible to everyone. When it comes time to choose a shipping method, the more options, the better. Some customers may be willing to wait a week to receive their package if it saves them a few dollars. Others want it in their mailbox in two days or less. Giving customers options throughout the checkout process makes for a convenient experience that will encourage them to return next time they’re looking to shop.
Maintaining brand integrity
At the end of the day, maintaining brand integrity comes down to knowing your customers and meeting their needs. Once you know how your brand is perceived and how you want it to be perceived, you can start crafting an experience around your ideal brand identity. Don’t shy away from feedback either, that is where you will find some of your most valuable insight.
A brand’s integrity is its identity. Start building a better brand experience with EasyPost. Our suite of shipping APIs will help you level up your logistics and enable you to find the best rates with the best carriers. And that’s just the beginning. Learn more about how EasyPost can help you build your brand by signing up today or getting in touch with one of our shipping experts.